Monday, February 01, 2021


(Above:  Relic CCXXX. Framed 10 1/2" x 8 1/2". Polyester stretch velvet fused to fabric and embellished with melting techniques, beading, and both hand and free-motion machine embroidery.  Every piece in this post is only $100 plus SC sales tax and shipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

At the end of every year Steve and I start counting things at Mouse House, Inc., our limited custom picture framing shop.  It's officially called "inventory".  While I'm counting full sheets of mat board and foam-centered board, Steve is working in the garage counting picture framing moulding.  It only makes sense to NOT count small sticks.  Often a moulding has been discontinued which means there's no sense in keeping a four foot stick. We'll never have any more of it. Occasionally, the moulding is coming in with a slightly different finish which means there's no sense in keeping that short stick either.  So, Steve cuts and builds little frames.  We call them "scrap frames" (which sounds sort of like "junk" but it is only because they were made from leftover/scrap pieces.)  

(Above:  Relic CCXXXI. Framed:  12 1/4" x 9".)

It becomes my job to creatively fill these scrap frames with original artwork.  First, I cut small mats to fill the frame.  Most include a piece of scrap fillet (a thin piece of wood lining the inner opening of the mat.)  I don't have to count these short pieces of fillet.  I like using them too.  They often provide space between the glass and the artwork.

(Above:  Relic CCXXXII. Framed:  11" x 9".)

There are other ways to create space in the framing package too.  In the photo above, I've shimmed the mat up with strips of acid-free foam-centered board.  You can't see them.  They are glued to the underside of the mat.  After I finished cutting all the mats, I took them to my studio to create artwork for each one.  In a sense, this is "reverse framing".  Instead of selecting a presentation to coordinate with the artwork, I made artwork to coordinate with the framing.  It is a unique challenge.

(Above:  Relic CCXXXIII. 13 1/2" x 11".)

Each one of these pieces was made on a scrap of cotton upholstery fabric.  I've complicated the background with snippets of "this and that", especially sweeps of heat activated metallic foiling.  Then, I've added layers of polyester stretch velvet squares and rectangles, chiffon, and free-motion machine stitching.  Then, everything went to the garage.  I soldered grooves and divots into the polyester stretch velvet.  Finally, each one was stapled to a small stretcher bar before getting plenty of hand embroidery and beading. 

(Above:  Relic CCXXXIV.  Framed:  12 1/2" x 10 1/2".)

One by one, they were finished, mounted into their mats, and photographed before being closed up with glass.  I even took images of me holding each one ... for a better sense of size and scale!  More than that, I created a new flipcard sales site for just these pieces ... because I'm hoping to add to them.  During this past year, art sales have been down, of course!  Going virtual is an idea that is going to stick around and having artwork on-line is here to stay.  As an impacted artist, I'm trying my best to "get with the new program" by putting affordable work in front of new audiences ... basically ... trying to sell things on-line.  I hope this works!

(Above:  Relic CCXXXV. 11 1/2" x 9 1/2".)

CLICK HERE to see my new sales site for these Relics.  Each piece includes the following information:

$100 plus South Carolina sales tax and shipping. I accept all major credit cards.  To order or ask additional questions, please email me at either or  My husband Steve and I can also be reached on the Mouse House business telephone, (803) 254-0842. We can accept FaceTime calls too!

(Above:  Relic CCXXXVI. 12" x 10".)

Generally, I send a PayPal invoice for each transaction.  One doesn't have to have a PayPal account to use their system.  Now ... one more thing about these pieces!  In the past, I only made Relics while conducting a workshop.  This work was the result of my first demonstration.  It became a place to show stitches (as opposed to me stitching on anyone else's artwork) and became my piece to demonstrate proper mounting techniques.  I always figured that I should "make art" when conducting a workshop.  Making another "sample" seemed a silly waste of time and materials.  Why shouldn't I make something that I was proud to sell while encouraging workshop participants to do the same?  Sometimes, I made several Relics during a workshop.  Because of the pandemic, I haven't had a workshop for over a year. My supply of Relics has dwindled to "next to nothing".  Because I don't have a workshop schedule for months and months, it seemed like this is something I ought to be doing! 

(Above:  Relic CCXXXVII. 13 1/2" x 10 3/4".)

It's been a great challenge and lots of fun.  I've always priced my Relics at $100 including the framing.  Generally, they've only been available directly from me ... here at my business, Mouse House, or in a workshop ... because I've taken some as examples.  I don't sell them through galleries.  Now, however, I'm offering them to anyone ... same price ... regardless of size or frame or anything else.  This could be lots of fun and a new way to have my artwork go places I'll never get to go!

(Above:  Relic CCXXXVIII.  Framed: 12 1/2" x 10 1/2".)
(Above:  Relic CCXXXIX. Framed:  11 1/2" x 9 1/2".)
(Above: Relic CCXL. Framed:  14 3/4" x 12 3/4".  I snapped the photo on the left with the wrong setting.  The picture frame moulding looks much more like the photo on the left!)
(Above: Relic CCXLI. Framed:  14" x 12".)
(Above: Relic CCXLII.  11 1/2" x 9 1/2".)
(Above:  Relic CCXLIII.  Framed: 10" x 8 1/2".)
(Above: Relic CCXLIV.  Framed:  10 3/4" x 9".)


Margaret said...

These are delightful! You've inspired me to have another look at my stash of drapery/upholstery fabric...

Ann Scott said...

These pieces are a wonderful use of your leftovers, bits, pieces, and your framing skills. As always, I enjoyed reading your process descriptions too.

Catherine - Mixed Media Artist said...

Love the idea of 'reverse art making' - I know I do a lot of things, from time to time with scraps - I create a lot every time I attach paper to a set sized other. But then it becomes an issue as the art is too much, and that's when I have to take steps to the city council recycle bin!